Greece is racing to unblock large highway, railway and airport projects
Six months after taking office, Greece’s new government rejuvenated several national infrastructure projects that were frozen during the financial crisis. These revived projects include economically critical road and railway infrastructure, as well as a massive urban development project in Athens called the Hellinikon Project. “Companies from all over the world have shown immense interest in Hellinikon,” says Kostas Karamanlis, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport. “It’s a project that will show that Greece is back on the map in terms of investment.”
One of the first major roadway projects to be revived is the Patras-Pyrgos highway, which had been stalled for several years. “We have already signed with a concessionaire and have agreed on the main terms,” says Karamanlis, adding that the roadway’s development will greatly improve the route’s safety record.
Besides critical new roads, there is also a push for new railways to link up with emerging logistics hubs. “Now is the time for the government to focus on railway projects,” says Filippos Tsalides, CEO of TrainOSE, one of Greece’s primary railway operators. “If the planned logistics centers in Thriasio Pedio and Thessaloniki go ahead, then we will need the railway infrastructure to transport products,” he explains.
Ensuring that this infrastructure materializes will require more widespread support in public-private partnerships. “It is important for large projects to have a public-private funding mix, so as to be more robust and able to overcome difficult market situations,” says Dimitrios Gatsonis, CEO of Aegean Motorway, a highway that was completed in 2017. “Meanwhile, faith in the Greek economy has been restored, and I am optimistic about the future,” he adds.